Norm is having one of his regular polls, this time looking for your three favourite English language poets (not 'the best', thank goodness) but even so I'm not sure I have three favourites in the sense that I go to their work rather than to particular volumes or poems (with the possible exception of Hardy) but nevertheless:
and now it gets difficult to choose from:
and of course Bob Dylan.
I suppose this is a strange mix.
I have only read Birthday Letters once - I did read it, from cover to cover soon after it was published and it made a huge impression on me, but it was so painful that I haven't been able to read it again.
I used to like much of Marianne Moore's work, but the the poem in BIrthday Letters about her and Sylvia Plath so destroyed my mental picture of her that I haven't read anything by her since.
Frost I have liked since O level - Apple picking, Mending wall, The road not taken etc - all read at 16 but unusually I wasn't put off.
I read Milton then too - Paradise Lost - and still dip into it at regular intervals. I am no more likely to finish than I was at 16, but I love the rolling, sonorous feel of it.
Nash is of course not a major poet but wonderful fun. cummings is I think a major writer, but his greatness is masked for many by the form he chooses.
My favourite poetry book (after Hardy's collected poems) is a collection called Conductors of Chaos, compiled by Ian Sinclair and if I was forced to choose in Desert Island Dics fashion it would probably be that rather than any particular writer. Having said that Logue's War Music series would be a close second.
My final three therefore:
e e cummings
Norm also asked for links to a favourite poem, so here is "The Revisitation" from Hardy